Why Share the Gospel in Mercy Ministry?

DangerThe world is full of very real dangers  –  violence, poverty, broken relationships, poor health, emotional disturbance, disrupted communities…so many things.  All these things can hurt us and we spend our lives trying to avoid them or change them! But none of those things is as dangerous as failure to trust the only One who can provide our permanent hope and security – Jesus Christ.

The Bible describes the situation:

And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son of God has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”  1 John 5:11-12

One either has eternal life in Jesus, called the Christ (Savior), or eternal life without Christ.  God Himself sends people to be carefully served by us in our ministries and provides the opportunity for us to partner with Him to show people the way to Jesus and eternal LIFE.

StubbornWe can help someone realize that when anyone leaves God out of their worldview, decisions, relationships, and actions it is called “sin” and causes the person to be separated from God, who is holy and cannot tolerate sin. Essentially the person is saying, “I can do this myself.  I don’t need God.”

As a result, the person operates at a terrible disadvantage every day!  He or she faces life without a relationship with the God  of the Bible — from whom all truth and good  comes!  He or she faces eternal life separated from God forever. But God provides a remedy for this condition because He loves each person!

Paid in FullA person can be rescued from this sin condition, and receive God’s gift of relationship and LIFE.  From the moment of decision to trust Christ alone as Savior, a believer is declared forgiven and adopted by God.  Christ, the Son of God, died as the substitute for their sins, rose from the dead, and was seen alive by hundreds of people, proving that death and sin were conquered forever. (2 Cor. 15:1-8)

For those who trust Christ as the One who paid the full penalty for sin, God gives the gift of eternal LIFE in relationship with Himself.  No one earns it.  God gives it once and for all! Eternal life includes all the work of God’s grace day by day, to help the person who has been made new – no longer estranged from God but now adopted by God into His family.

This eternal life gift extends out through all of life on earth as the Holy Spirit gives strength to a believer to resist sin and choose truth.  He provides comfort, teaching, and power as  Christ continues to intercede for the believer, all the way into joyful eternity.

The message of God’s grace to sinful men is not merely a proclamation of eternal condemnation [for those who do not trust in Christ]; it is rather that the chief of sinners may be saved through the Savior that infinite love has provided.” (Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, Volume 4, p. 433)

In The Evangelism Study Bible, p. 1176,  there’s a note on 1 John 4:11 that helps us understand why to share the gospel with someone.  It’s entitled, “Love is Putting Somebody Else First.”  It says, “Through His death on the cross and resurrection the third day, Jesus Christ satisfied the wrath of God against our sin.  Now God freely extends eternal life as a gift to all who trust His Son.”  And, “Christians who demonstrate sacrificial love stand out like a lighted billboard on a dark night.  When others notice our love, we have a wonderful opportunity to share the love of Jesus.”

Prepare to help a new Christian to grow in their faith, to learn to pray, to become established in their understanding of Scripture — in short, help them find a home in a church that loves new believers and knows how to help them grow in their spiritual life.

Pray that God will cause  you and partners in your ministry to think of others first and share the gospel.  Be one of those “lighted billboard” people that God will use to both LIVE the gospel through your ministry, and SAY the gospel so it can be heard by a person who does not know Him.

Learn more here: Online evangelism training is available through EvanTell,  24/7, Free Online Evangelism Training.

Big Lie #1: The Cross of Christ is Powerless

Image

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”     1Corinthians 1:18  (NKJV)

small cross on background

Sometimes the best way to understand the value of something is to evaluate what would happen if it did not exist.  For example, there is much controversy over using certain types of energy because of issues of price, pollution, or international trade.  But, only when the world is imagined without a form of energy can we really see the impact.  For example, the day that gasoline is not available, or costs too much, for you to to drive a car, or coal or oil is not there to heat your  home — that’s when we know what energy is really worth!  It’s worth jobs, and staying warm, and traveling for work or pleasure. Suddenly necessity and life factor into the evaluation, and answers become much more personal! That’s the way it is with the Cross of Christ.  Imagine life without it!  If you know someone who has not trusted Christ – they have life without the Cross.  They have:

  • No evidence of the depth to which God will go to love us.  They may think they just don’t belong…
  • No understanding of their intrinsic value to God, even if we are hated or devalued by people.  They may think they must please everyone…or try…no matter how it hurts them.
  • No way to reconcile their relationship with God and know Him.
  • No way to be forgiven for sins that they have committed, hate to commit, and will commit over their life time.
  • No peace in their heart that frees them to live for Him the best they can, knowing they will fail, but that they cannot be separated from His love by any means known to man, even death.
  • No Holy Spirit to guide and correct and grow them into spiritual maturity.  No “greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world.”
  • No Heaven! Since there is no way to earn their way there, they are doomed.

Big Lie #1 Is False and We Can Demonstrate It!

We fight Big Lie #1 with our TESTIMONY, with the WORD of God,  with the rich knowledge of our “before Christ” and “after Christ”  and what wonder He has worked in us.  Every person needs to be able to share their testimony with the gospel embedded in it!  You fight Big Lie #1 with your life every time you share your “3-Word Testimony.”

Big Lie #1 is False and We Can Explain It!

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the explanation of the ways in which the lie distorts what God has done through His Son.  You fight Big Lie #1 with the Word of Truth: 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, and Acts 2, where the truth is explained to thousands by Peter when the Holy Spirit made a fisher of fish into a fisher of men!   With the story of a man, a stone cold killer, who became a missionary to the world.  With the story of a businesswoman who provided a home for the church — a home that became a hub of ministry.

The enemies of Christ and the Cross race about in a frenzy, doing all they can to eliminate Christian crosses (even ones in the middle of the desert) from the public landscape —   because they are afraid.  

They are afraid of changed people, like you, who have trusted Christ for salvation, who have living in them the Holy Spirit, who are unafraid of whatever the world can throw at you.

They are afraid of our prayers and of our impact on their culture of meanness, death, and greed.  They are afraid that they will lose their power!   And they do lose their power because they have believed the Lie.  We have realized that God loves us and we are more able, more powerful, and more confident than we have ever dreamed!

We  know that the God of everything loves us, and listens to us, and is making a place for us in Heaven.  We can go on being His forever – and we know how to tell everyone else how to get there, too!

Making the God Connection: Taking a Chance on Jesus

Who DO You Trust!

Adult members of the Millennial Generation have the lowest level of trust among all generations in America.  Only 19% of them felt that people generally could be trusted.  In their recent review of social trends, Pew Research offered this chart, Millennials Less Trusting of Others, which has implications for us as we try to Make the God Connection with anyone.

 SDT-next-america-03-07-2014-0-05

Source:  http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2014/03/07/millennials-in-adulthood/  accessed 4/1/2014.

When we share the gospel of Jesus Christ with someone in the millennial age group, we have to face the fact that they are a pretty wary bunch, even when they are not confronting life-changing challenges.  As you share the gospel with them you might consider these three things:

  1. Remember Who’s in Charge!  This is not always easy.  Just pray for an opportunity to share the gospel.  Honor the Lord by learning to share the gospel clearly and simply with Biblical accuracy.  Then do the best you can to declare the gospel, with personal authenticity, in the context of a person’s current situation that they have revealed to you.  The Holy Spirit is in charge of whether or not the person trusts Christ.  So that’s good news.  Relax.
  2. Recognize that trusting may be really tough.  Your clients often have had a rough life and people around them may not be trustworthy at all!  This is why your demeanor of grace and the center’s integrity and care for a person may be so novel that she will later say to you, “You were so nice.  You guys really cared about me!  That’s why I came back.”  If she can trust you, that’s a good start!  Be ready for questions and, if you don’t know an answer, say so, and tell her you’ll get back to her.
  3. Gospel conversations are not abrupt!  You just can’t leap into the gospel from a conversation about unplanned pregnancy without first touching on some spiritual topic.  Sometimes, I ask a person, “Who or what do you rely on when times are hard?”  Maybe they know more about trust than you think!  Their answer often tells something about whether they have any spiritual beliefs.
    1. If the conversation is progressing, take the opportunity to share your testimony about how trusting in Christ for your salvation has changed your condition and your hope.  If you use the “Create Your Three-Word Testimony Worksheet” it will help you write your testimony with the gospel embedded in it.  You’ll be sharing how you decided to “Take a Chance on Jesus” and trust Him for your salvation.  Learn to create your testimony here:  http://evantell.org/Tools/Article-Detail/Article/11/How-to-Develop-Your-3-Word-Testimony#sthash.ukcpUSqo.dpbs
    2. Use a single verse, John 3:16, to share the gospel.  Grab the instructions here: http://evantell.org/Tools/Article-Detail/Article/67/How-to-Share-the-Gospel-with-One-Verse#sthash.1JEvDgxG.dpbs
    3. If you have a smart phone or iPad, you can link to EvanTell’s mobile site on which there is a video of the gospel presentation that you and she can view together! Just get on your mobile device and key in http://www.evantell.org and the mobile site will come up with the gospel presentation on it!

If a person trusts Christ alone for her salvation, there’s wonderful opportunity to help her know what to do next to grow in her faith.  We will be posting on “3 Crucial Steps for New Believers” next week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making the God Connection – 1 of 3

mmg tiny       by Mary Margaret Gibson
This is the first of a three-post series on Making the God Connection.  First, is an update on who is actually doing evangelism these days.  SMSC-trained pregnancy center staff and volunteers are so accustomed to sharing the gospel–and it is so often well received–that it’s good just to check the temperature “outside” the center from time to time. In post 2, we’ll look at how to make The God Connection very quickly with someone who has come for help to your pregnancy center or other life ministry.  In post 3, we’ll offer you a neat new parent’s class to help them hear the gospel themselves and then learn to Make the God Connection with babies 0-3 years old!

In December, the Barna Group sent out an update with the interesting title, “Is Evangelism Going Out of Style?”  You can find the article at https://www.barna.org/barna-update/faith-spirituality/648-is-evangelism-going-out-of-style#.Ut66p9HnZjo

Salvation is to be found only through trust in Jesus Christ as Savior, and we spend our days training folks and equipping them to share that good news.  So we were mighty interested in the information in this article.  Here’s some news that may surprise you:

The Most Evangelistic Generation    They’ve been called “the social justice generation,” and for good reason—Millennials are actively taking up the cause of the poor, the oppressed, the orphan and the widow. Yet the most common critique leveled at this surge in social compassion is that it comes at a great expense. Sure, skeptics argue, they might feed the hungry and free the captives in this life, but what about the next? According to this view, Millennials are elevating physical needs over spiritual needs and forgoing evangelism altogether.

     Yet the latest Barna research reveals this is not the case.

    In fact, in answer to the question of evangelism on the rise or in decline, Millennials are a rare case indeed. While the evangelistic practices of all other generations have either declined or remained static in the past few years, Millennials are the only generation among whom evangelism is significantly on the rise. Their faith-sharing practices have escalated from 56% in 2010 to 65% in 2013.

     Not only that, but born again Millennials share their faith more than any other generation today. Nearly two-thirds (65%) have presented the Gospel to another within the past year, in contrast to the national average of about half (52%) of born again Christians.”

This is encouraging news indeed!  It tells me that more and more people in the age group served by SMSC-trained pregnancy centers may have heard the gospel somewhere!  It also tells me that there are probably young people in every church who share the gospel regularly.  It gives me great hope that as we share the gospel in pregnancy centers, we may find that Millennial folks may see life ministry as a way to combine their desire for social justice and mercy with a clear, simple way to share the gospel in conversation.

We’d be very interested in your opinions about this article.  Do comment.

Recommended Prayer Resource

Just a quick post to recommend that our SMSC friends review https://www.prayerpowerministries.com/  as a great resource for you, your church, and your ministry in 2014 and beyond.  You can also follow Prayer Power Ministries and Jim and Kaye Johns on facebook.  If you believe, as we do, that prayer is the most powerful resource that a Christian has, you will definitely enjoy the downloads from this site and the reasonable prices for resources!

From their “About” Page:  In 1994, Jim and Kaye Johns left lifetime careers to launch and devote full time to PrayerPower. Kaye was president of a nonprofit teacher-training organization and had achieved recognition as producer and host of a nationally syndicated radio program. Jim was owner of a full-service advertising agency and had served in various capacities in broadcasting organizations in Texas, Oklahoma, and Utah….
They have traveled extensively throughout the United States and on four continents, conducting prayer conferences, seminars and retreats. Their ministry includes a daily PrayerPower radio program, now available in text and audio formats through this website. Also available here: Prayer Journals and Prayer Guides for individuals, churches and parachurch ministries. All are designed to encourage the use of Scripture in personal and corporate prayer.

BEYOND THE ESSENTIALS: NEW COURSES for SMSC Certified Instructors

FEBRUARY 20, 2014 – THURSDAY

Principles & Essentials to Build on ACT Personal Evangelism Training – making the gospel relevant to women of various cultures and ages; evangelism in the pregnancy center for new and expectant moms AND dads; how to work with SMSC partners to add unique support to your ministry (mentors for moms, fatherhood discipleship and skills training, serve women where they live; work with church-based community ministries). Using evangelism videos in “Earn While You Learn” or other service ministry.
NEW Evangelism Review Course:  Sharing the Gospel in Life Ministries – Materials and Leader’s Guide for a 60-90 minute Review of evangelism and discipleship basics, especially for volunteers and staff who may have taken training some time ago.  Leader’s Guide, poster.
NEW 2-Session Parenting Class:   Building Success in Life Ages 0-3 – a wonderful course that provides insight to new and expectant parents about how to support their baby’s development physically, emotionally, and spiritually – while having FUN!  Show parents “foundations of the gospel” they can teach by their behavior with their baby or toddler.   Leader’s Guide, poster, links to various web sites can be used by staff members.
New SMSC Worksheets & Short Courses:  How to use Transitions & Role Play to help staff and volunteers help people with various needs and backgrounds understand the gospel.  Includes training worksheet to help your staff and volunteers create their own role plays suitable for your clients, patients.  Updates to Instructor Manual provided.
Geography:  National – any Certified Instructor with a current 2014 contract may participate

More details to follow.  Please email Liz Hallquist, ehallquist@evantell.org to receive your Registration Form.
Where:   Holiday Inn DFW Airport South, 14320 Centre Station Dr., Fort Worth, TX 76155 (Free shuttle from DFW), request EvanTell Meeting Room Rate
When:  Thursday, February 20, 2014 – 8:30 am – 4:00 pm – lunch provided
Course fee:  ONLY $55.00, payable with your Registration.